By Michaela Gibson Morris
TUPELO – North Mississippi Health Services has chosen a Birmingham, Ala., health care executive with Tupelo ties to lead the organization.
Tupelo native Shane Spees, who has served as the chief executive for Baptist Health System since 2007, will take the reins of the Tupelo-based health care system on Jan. 2.
“I am energized by the opportunity to return home to serve the great communities in north Mississippi and northwest Alabama,” Spees said in a press release. “North Mississippi Health Services is an excellent system of providers that has always served and performed at a very high level.”
The top system leadership position opened this summer when John Heer announced his resignation after leading the system for nine years, which included bringing the Baldrige National Quality Award back to Tupelo twice.
“Our search committee was looking for someone who was a visionary, with strategic leadership skills in tackling the many challenges facing health care today, both at the state and national level,” said NMHS board member Mickey Holliman, who chaired the committee which oversaw a national search.
Spees’ work in Birmingham has prepared him well to lead the six-hospital system, said NMHS board chairman Robin McGraw.
“Like NMHS, it is one of the largest health care systems in that state and one of the state’s largest employers,” McGraw said. “His work experience and his knowledge of north Mississippi make him a perfect fit for our organization.”
Spees earned undergraduate and legal degrees at the University of Mississippi. He also earned a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Spees began his health care career at Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston in 1995. In 2004, he became the president of Valley Baptist Hospital which serves Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.
Spees’ ties to the Tupelo medical community run deep. At Memorial Hermann, he found a mentor in Dan Wilford, who served as NMMC administrator in the 1970s and ’80s before joining the Houston hospital system. Spees’ wife, Parker, is the daughter of longtime Tupelo surgeon Dr. Benton Hilbun.
“I look forward to building on a rich history of quality, innovation, service and excellent staff and physicians,” Spees said.
Four members of the system’s senior leadership team will continue to oversee the operations until January. When Spees arrives, top priorities will include finding a chief executive for the flagship Tupelo hospital and a new vice president for community hospitals.